An old post from my other blog...
Today I concluded a difficult case. I can't say that I "won" it because in my line of work, winning simply means that the right thing is going to happen. However, it will not happen without countless challenges and obstacles. Winning assumes there are losers and my ultimate definition of success is that there are none. In this case I believe I accomplished that goal. No one will take home hardware at the end of the day and there will be no post-race party nor a recovery day. However, the fact of the matter is that the reward is far greater than a finisher's medal and more powerful than a top ten finish.
I've been in this business for a long time, but some cases get to me more than others. Maybe it's because some hit closer to home... or maybe my frozen heart melts just a tiny bit when I meet exceptional children and their even more exceptional parents. Either way, I've been thinking a lot about Holland lately.
I think we each have our own "Holland"... a challenge that requires us to think and act differently than expected... be it a child who is differently abled, a medical condition or injury we deal with that affects how we live and/or train, a job that's not all it's cracked up to be, or a difficult family situation. Whatever your Holland is, I hope you stop to admire the Rembrandts, windmills and tulips along the way, even if they are hidden or off the beaten path, and find the beauty there.
"Welcome to Holland"
By Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.